Spartans top Mustangs for tourney title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Josh Cuadrado (35) battles for a rebound against the Starpoint duo of Brock Kroening (50) and Ben Walters (42) during the Mustangs tournament title game loss to the host Spartans this evening.

PENDLETON – Plagued by cold shooting, both from the field and the free throw line, Medina dropped a 42-38 decision to host Starpoint in the title game of the Pendleton Lions Club Tournament this evening.

Medina led 28-27 at the outset of the decisive final period after a jumper by Ben McPherson and trailed by just two, 34-32, midway through the stanza after a jumper by Jason Hellwig.

However, Medina managed just three more points over the next three and a half minutes as the Mustangs went just 3 of 11 from the foul line down the stretch which proved costly.

“We didn’t shoot well and we didn’t make our foul shots and those two factors were huge,” Medina Coach Tom Forrestel said. “It was a very frustrating night. We just didn’t execute offensively.”

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Ben McPherson (24) puts up a shot for Medina against Starpoint defender Brock Kroening (50).

Starpoint though made clutch free throws down the stretch to lock up the win and the tourney title. Up 36-33 after a rebound bucket by Christian Nodine, the Spartans made four straight free throws, two each by Sam Terrazzino and Julian Mott, to extend the advantage to 40-33 with 50 seconds to go.

Medina interrupted with a rebound bucket by Dan Brown but Starpoint got those points right back on free throws by Terrazzino and Ian Emerick to go up 42-35 with 20 seconds remaining and lock up the victory.

Kroening finished with a game high 14 points and Nodine and Emerick both netted 9 to lead the Spartans.

Brown led Medina with 12 as McPherson tallied 9, Kevin Arnold 7, Hellwig 5 and David Garrow 2. Brown and Hellwig were both named to the All-Tournament team.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Cedric Griffith (13) drives to the basket for Medina against Starpoint’s Garrett Longwell (44).

Starpoint led 10-8 after one period and extended the lead to 19-11 in the second period after a three-part play by Kroening off a Medina turnover.

Medina though stayed within five, 22-17, at the half after late threes by Arnold and Hellwig.

The Mustangs then rallied into a 26-25 lead after a low scoring third quarter on a three-point play by Cedric Griffith and lay-ups by Arnold, McPherson and Brown.

The Mustangs kept the lead at 28-27 early in the final stanza after jumper by McPherson but cold shooting, especially at the line, and several costly turnovers proved to be a fatal combination down the stretch as the Mustangs slip to 4-2.

“When you are not shooting well you have to make your free throws and we didn’t,” Forrestel said. “They made their free throws and we didn’t. Kudos for Starpoint for winning their tournament. We just didn’t play well and didn’t deserve to win it. It was very frustrating offensively.”

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Jason Hellwig (2) goes to the basket against Starpoint defender Sam Terrazzino (42).